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"Wells Fargo Abusive Overdraft Fees Class Action Lawsuit

A number of class action lawsuits have been filed against Wells Fargo for the alleged unfair and illegal assessment and collection of excessive overdraft fees.

The complaints charge that Wells Fargo does not record charges and purchases on ATM or debit cards in the order they actually occurred. Instead, Wells Fargo reorders the charges and purchases so that the largest charge or purchase is the first one paid by the bank. This manipulative practice is intentionally designed, the complaints allege, to maximize overdraft fee revenue.

With the exception of one class action brought by California customers only, these cases have been transferred to the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami, Florida, where all federal lawsuits against the banking industry for abusive overdraft fees have been coordinated before the Honorable James L. King.

California Case Update: Federal Court Finds Wells Fargo Improperly Assessed Overdraft Fees, Orders $203 Million in Restitution

On August 10, 2010, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup held in a 90-page opinion that Wells Fargo violated California law. Instead of posting each transaction chronologically, the evidence presented at trial showed that Wells Fargo deducted the largest charges first, drawing down available balances more rapidly and triggering a higher volume of overdraft fees.

Commenting on the Court's decision, lead trial attorney Richard M. Heimann stated:

"Today, a federal court enjoined Wells Fargo from continuing its practice of manipulating their customers' accounts for the sole purpose of generating massive bank fees. These unfair practices cost California consumers huge amounts of money, and we are pleased that the Court has ordered Wells Fargo to return $203 million of its ill-gotten gains to its customers. We are grateful for the opportunity to try this case in order to successfully reveal that the bank's true motives behind its overdraft bookkeeping were profiteering and the gouging of its customers. Wells Fargo's after the fact excuses were soundly rejected by the Court, and rightfully so, as it not only never made an honest effort to disclose its true practices to its supposedly valued customers, but worse yet, misled them. This is not only an actual victory for Wells Fargo customers, but a symbolic victory for consumers throughout the country who are subjected to these kinds of oppressive business practices."

A copy of the Court's order can be found here.

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Submitted by Ed Cage   |   ecagetx@gmail.com
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